10 Years Solo Live is a recording by jazz pianist Brad Mehldau. It contains solo piano tracks from 19 concerts in Europe during the period 2004–2014.
"Mehldau became a working musician at a time when jazz was engulfed by historicism, and he spent a lot of youthful energy swatting away one presumptive legacy or another. This could be one reason that his solo work deals sparingly with the jazz repertory." "In the late 1990s, Brad Mehldau began turning his refined attention to the exacting art Keith Jarrett had dominated for so long: unaccompanied acoustic-piano improvisation." Mehldau's previous solo piano albums were Elegiac Cycle (1999), Live in Tokyo (2003), and Live in Marciac (2006).
The tracks are arranged by four themes: "Dark/Light", "The Concert", "Intermezzo/Rückblick", and "E Minor/E Major". Dark/Light "explores versions of Jeff Buckley's 'Dream Brother', which is followed by Lennon/McCartney's 'Blackbird'". In Mehldau's words, "'Rückblick' means a look backward, perhaps a reappraisal. Brahms's Intermezzo movement was a look back at what had taken place in his Sonata before moving to the final movement. Here, the listener is invited to look back to music that was recorded 10 or more years ago, in 2004 and 2005." The final theme uses minor and major variants of a key and references the first theme.
On "Dream Brother", Mehldau lets "a single-note pulse work as an emotional metronome before the layering really begins." "And I Love Her" is given a "fugue-like construction". "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has "pointillistic flourishes, a sound painting sourced from West Coast grunge with a Satie-like sensitivity." On the 2011 version of "Knives Out", "Arpeggios ripple, melodies flit across said ripples, and Radiohead's bluesy electronica is lent the power of Beethoven." "Junk" "has a light danceability about it stemming from just how damn tuneful it is." "Intermezzo in B-Flat Major" "is a kind of behold-these-chops moment, with Mehldau crossing over into classical territory with a virtuosity we’ve been well prepared for by this time."
The performances were recorded in concerts in Europe between June 7, 2004 and March 10, 2014.
Mehldau explained that "the order of songs is not arbitrary, and I have tried to tell a story from beginning to end in the way I've sequenced it."
The original release, of a collection of eight LPs, was on October 16, 2015. The same material was issued as a four-CD collection, and made available by digital download, on November 13 of the same year.
John Fordham of The Guardian commented on the recording's "slew of orchestrally rolling chordwork, tireless trills and corkscrewing contrapuntal playing". In a mixed review in The Daily Telegraph, Ivan Hewett wrote that several tracks "begin intriguingly, but then become gripped by a sense of their own importance, swelling up to an oppressively 'anthemic' weightiness." Nate Chinen, in The New York Times, believed that the release "contains some of the most impressive pianism Mr. Mehldau has captured on record."
Source:Brad Mehldau – piano